Thu, 25 May 2000

Soemarjono denies part in fake money business

SURABAYA (JP): The main suspect in the counterfeit money case, Soemarjono, denied on Wednesday all accusations against him, saying that he knew nothing about the scandal and that police had no supporting evidence.

Speaking to reporters before being escorted to a cell, the retired Army colonel, repeatedly denied any role in producing and circulating counterfeit money. "There is no single evidence until this very moment. I have no idea of the accusations against me."

After being questioned from Tuesday evening to 3:00 a.m. Wednesday, Soemarjono, accompanied by three attorneys, returned to the police station for further interrogation at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

Chief of Surabaya Police detectives, Maj. Edwin BM, said that Soemarjono was confronted with 13 other suspects. "He claimed to know only two of the suspects in other businesses, not in counterfeiting," Edwin said.

However, the other 13 suspects said they knew Soemarjono.

"They have the right to claim to know me," Soemarjono told reporters.

Soemarjono, the manager of the Indonesian Thomas Cup winning team, was officially detained at the Surabaya City Police as of Wednesday evening. During Wednesday questioning he was accompanied by three attorneys, who signed the letter of warrant No. SPP:237/V/SERSE/2000 dated May 24, 2000.

Soemarjono, who looked fresh after the hard questioning, said he accepted the order to detain him, but one of his lawyers, Nelson Darwis, said he would request a delay.


The arrest of Soemarjono cut short Indonesian badminton team's victory celebration.

Men's doubles specialist Candra Wijaya told The Jakarta Post Wednesday in a telephone interview that he still believed that Soemarjono was a generous person.

"I have known him since 1994 and all I know is that he is a very nice and generous person. The players made a special request to the Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI) chairman Subagyo Hadisiswoyo to appoint Pak Soemarjono as team manager," said the world number one doubles partner of Tony Gunawan.

"I was very shocked to learn what happened at the airport. This can't be happening to him. Whatever happens, I only know that he is a good man," Candra, another men's doubles specialist said, recalling Soemarjono's arrest at the airport upon his arrival from Kuala Lumpur.

World number three men's singles Hendrawan said: "I was not very close to him since I was recognized as a star during Pak Subagyo's era. But during the Thomas Cup, I learned that all players were close to him."

Hendrawan, two-time hero for Indonesia's Thomas Cup team in 1998 and 2000, was stunned when he saw several officers approaching Soemarjono to arrest him.

"Too bad, it happened just after we won the Thomas Cup. Our victory is meaningless. Our happiness is not as great as when we just retained the trophy."

Indonesia's third singles Marlev Mainaky said that Soemarjono had very good relationships with the players.

Marlev learned of the news Monday morning from his wife Helen when he called her from Kuala Lumpur. "I was shocked. I hope it is not true."

PBSI training director Christian Hadinata declined to comment on the arrest.

"I can only say that he is a good man since he served as the executive director in the previous term. Soemarjono successfully conducted his job as the team manager by bringing home the Thomas Cup. There's no more I can say."

Training director for the 2000 Olympic Games Arie Sudewo urged athletes not to be affected by Soemarjono's scandal.

He told the athletes, especially those who are being groomed for the quadrennial event in Sydney, to learn from the success of the national shuttlers in retaining the Thomas Cup.

"I hope that the scandal will not discourage the people of the Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI). But we will promote the success story of the Thomas Cup team to boost the morale of other athletes," said Arie, who is also the deputy chairman of the National Sports Council (KONI). (nur/yan/ivy/sur)